The Man in the Tree

Sage Walker. Tor, $25.99 (368p) ISBN 978-0-7653-7992-4
In this rich, intense novel of ideas, Locus Award–winner Walker (Whiteout) meditates upon murder, law, and justice inside a generation spaceship in 2209. The seedship Kybele, the last hope of a damaged Earth, is nearing departure on a 200-year trip from which it might never return. When a worker is found messily dead, incident analyst Helt Borresen investigates, defining jurisdictions and setting precedents among the closed society of risk-takers on board Kybele. The ship’s only experienced pathologist, Elena Maury, emerges as the chief suspect, and Helt must fight his growing attraction to her as he tries to prove her innocence and uncover a possible far-reaching conspiracy. The true mystery underlying Helt’s investigation is how (and whether) human social contracts will be established and operate on Kybele in isolation, enabling a fragment of the human species to survive. The investigative and legal issues of the book’s world are extraordinarily well thought out; how the mystery is solved and justice is addressed fit very tightly into the themes of “new world, new rules.” Walker demonstrates new ways of thinking about futuristic social systems that are optimistic rather than dystopic. Fans of hard science fiction and philosophical mystery will enjoy this hopeful view of humankind’s future. Agent: Kay McCauley, Pimlico Agency. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 07/17/2017
Release date: 09/12/2017
Genre: Fiction
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